Exercises for wheelchair users: Do you have any tips for online exercises for people who use wheelchairs?

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Do you have any tips for online exercises for people who use wheelchairs?


I am now using a wheelchair but would like to find exercises online that don't show a 19-year-old going so fast and moving 4 or 5 steps for each exercise!

Our answer

Regardless of your physical abilities, exercising is a great way to improve or maintain your strength and flexibility, while also increasing positive feelings and mental well-being. While there are dozens of free guides and videos online that show common wheelchair exercises, it is important that you find one that is easy to follow and applicable to your needs.

The "Sit and Be Fit" video.It is highly recommended you consult with a registered healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regime, including the ones listed below.

Here are a few resources you may want to explore.

  • Seated Exercises for Older Adults is an easy-to-follow video by Dartmouth-Hitchcock, a health organization in the U.S. This video offers five chair exercises for seniors and provides clear instructions that are read slowly by the speaker. Resistance bands are shown as a way to increase the difficulty of the exercises but – depending on your mobility and strength – this might not be required. If you are interested in purchasing a resistance band, they are available in many several stores, including Amazon.ca and London Drugs, and range from about $20 to $60 (CDN), plus shipping fees.
  • Sit and Be Fit – Workplace Workout by Mary Ann Wilson, RN is another easy-to-follow chair exercise routine for adults in a workplace setting. The video provides several simple exercises for your neck, back, arms and legs with clear instruction and is designed to be completed by anyone in a sitting position. Sit and Be Fit is a non-profit organization committed to healthy aging advocacy, and its YouTube channel has several other chair-oriented exercises that you may want to explore.
  • Seated Upper Body Exercise Video by Kaiser Permanente is a one hour exercise regiment designed specifically for patients with spinal cord injuries and others who benefit from seated exercise. The video offers both aerobic and resistance/strength training exercises, and includes safety tips and other guides for an effective workout for better health.

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